jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

(With apologies to Wreck-it Ralph. Linked video contains spoilers.)

I used to get Lawful Good on D&D alignment quizzes, because I only picked the "right" answers. Later, and for most of the last ten years, I answered honestly and got Neutral Good ... because I didn't want to rock the boat, but I still went out of my way to help people.

I still do, sometimes. But the most recent alignment quiz I took pegged me as Chaotic Neutral, and the more I think about it the more I think it fits.

I think the tipping point, for me, was seeing how corporations like Mozilla -- which I thought were purely benevolent -- were really more concerned with ensuring their own survival. And while a lot of Free Software volunteers do so out of the goodness of their hearts, after being thrown away by GNOME I saw how others like me were being manipulated thanks to their desires to do good.

Read more... )

tl;dr

The more I realize how little I know, and how messed-up my programming is thanks to my upbringing, the less confident I am that it's even possible to be a "good" person in the conventional sense. Not without massive conflicts of interest, and potential for abuse / exploitation.

Instead, I'm trying to be a kind person. Both in the sense that I want to treat others as people, and in the sense that [personal profile] aliaspseudonym referred to in its Xenotheism essay. Where "kindness is goodness," because the most genuinely good thing any person can do is to just be the kind of person they are.

If you don't believe that, then you can't really help anyone anyway.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Before you tell us we're being too mean or harsh, when describing our experiences, ask yourself this:

Would I say this if it were something I actually thought was a big deal?

Because there's this tendency to side with the people who share your privilege over the people your group victimizes. Like when Brendan Eich resigned as CEO of Mozilla, after the outcry over his $1,000 donation to California's Proposition 8, and a lot of self-identified progressives and "allies" suddenly accused LGBTQA advocates of being bullies.

What if he'd used that money to donate to a campaign to deprive women of the vote? Or to reinstate poll taxes? What if he'd written an essay in favour of one of the many, many 2012 candidates who expressed inane views about women's reproductive biology?

If you feel that it's more important to shield bigoted hetero cismen from the consequences of their bigotry than it is to let LGBTQA persons have a safe workspace, then just say so. Just say you accept those other issues as real and valid, as things that it's Not Okay Ever to do, but that paying money to deprive LGBTQA persons of basic rights is just a mistake like eating the last donut. That you feel it's something anyone could reasonably be expected to do, that it doesn't really hurt anyone, and that it's creepy and weird for others to get all upset over it.

Likewise, if you really think that we're a foxraptor, or a plural system, or fictive, or female. Then please treat our identities as being as legitimate as your own, and defend them like you'd defend your own. Act like the laws have already been passed; failing that, act like it is a bug, and not a feature, that they haven't already.

This isn't a Take That to anyone in particular. Mostly, we wrote this one for ourself.

We just want to add that if anyone doesn't see us as real, or has their own personal headcanon or theological explanation for what we are, we would ask that they keep it to themselves. We're okay with suggestions; we're not okay with being told that our story's not real, and we really fit into your own. After growing up in the Mormon church, we've had our feelings and identities denied enough for two lifetimes.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

That's the headline for a story published by Reuters. It is very straightforward.

This is how Mozilla exec Darren Herman put it, in an official blog post explaining the move: Publisher Transformation with Users at the Center.

Here are some of his greatest hits from that post, by which I mean the most egregious offences against Mozilla's fans and the English language:

Cut for slight rantiness. )

This is Mozilla's City Creek Center moment. It's a sign of how little they truly care; for the web, for their volunteers, and for their fans.

So, has anyone seen this video of Internet Explorer-Tan doing a magical girl transformation and fighting robots?

Click here if you cannot see the video.

I am imagining that those kittybots are EVIL FOXES now.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Reading about Bitcoin, it occurred to me that these people are in many ways the same as the ones who started the financial crisis. Their lives are devoted to making value from nothing, which is really taking value from the rest of society without giving back anything in return. They're "cheating the system," so to speak.

I keep thinking about how I should be focused on doing the same, because that's what so much of the advice I get says. You do what you have to do, they say, in order to make a living. But realizing that this is what they're doing -- and that the system I'm cheating has women, minors, otherkin, and people of colour in it, and they are the ones who will be hurt the most by my cheating -- gives me pause.

I think I want to make sure that I'm giving fair value to them. Not to an employer; international capitalism can kiss my tailfeathers. Not to a deity; Inari asks only that I be myself. To the people (human and nonhuman alike) and environments which are affected by my attempts at making money, "making a living," or simply surviving, none of which are the same thing.

I feel like I do my best work -- and therefore maximize my chances of doing all the above -- if I act as though there's no consideration besides making things that ought to exist, for people who ought to have them. I feel like this isn't the only reason Apple is taking over, but it's one of the big ones, that they're so idealistic about who will be using their products and what they'll be doing with them.


Click here if you cannot see this video.


This is what I tried to explain to my family of origin, years ago, when I said why I wanted to work on the Internet doing things that I cared about instead of frantically applying for jobs, any jobs. And though I ended up writing for a content farm, I feel like I mostly preserved my integrity, by writing about things I felt people ought to know. Even though I now disagree with much of what I wrote, and even though I sometimes wrote paid advertorials for big companies, and even though ads for people I disagreed with often appeared next to my writing, I tried my best to at least be entertaining. To make the world at least a little better and more humane for my having been in it.

Not because of a corporate mandate, or a divine imperative in the traditional sense, but because that's the kind of person I am.

Inari, to me, is all-encompassing love. She hears everyone's prayers which are directed to her, and even many that aren't, like in my case. If she can't answer them all, or answer them all in the way that we'd want her to, she at least does what she can. Not because anyone's making her, but because that's the kind of person she is.

For me as Taryn, as one of Inari's tails / foxes / selves / avatars, being like her isn't an act of self-sacrifice, but one of self-actualization. And if my idealism led me to be blind to how my efforts were just enriching people who didn't deserve it, that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with being idealistic so much as being too credulous, of people who don't deserve it. And putting abstract principles, like "the truthfulness of the Gospel" or "the Free Software movement," over everyone and everything else, including the people that they are supposed to help.

Including myself.

The fact that I was betrayed isn't my fault, and it isn't a flaw with the entire world that makes the whole thing irredeemable. It's because I was raised to lack a self, and to find it only in being subsumed in rich people's interests. Whether they run Google, Red Hat, the Mozilla Corporation, or the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The answer isn't to become completely selfish and self-serving, as though it were possible for me (or Rei or Claire) to shut off my empathy.

The answer is to make better friends, and call better people my family.

The answer is to get excited about things I like, and not things others tell me to get excited about.

The answer is to trust myself to do what's right, what comes naturally from being passionate about people and things that I love, while listening to them and empathizing with them and respecting them for who and what they are. Instead of constantly having to check my passion with concerns imposed on me by self-serving, powerful people, about money or others' ideals. Which isn't to say those will never come up, but that insofar as is possible I should be living my life, with the people I care about, instead of living the life global capitalism and its religious and pseudo-religious leaders want me to live.

I am, was, and will be a part of a goddess of wealth and abundance. I want everyone to have what they need and long for, and even some of their frivolous wants. And while I've learned that I have to start with myself, I can't end there. I can't even get started at all if I know in advance that I'll be ending there.

EDIT: And while I tie this into my otherkin identity, I don't feel that I'm unique in being like this.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Okay, so remember how a year or two ago the Scientologists Mormons did this ad campaign that was like, they focused on all these really diverse people and had them say "I'm [...] and I'm a Mormon"?

And they were, like, people of colour, and women working outside the home, and a surfer, and a rock star, and basically people who were really not characteristic of Mormonism but were suddenly trotted out so this incredibly out of touch organization -- which survives on the generosity of people who believe in its mission and who either don't know or don't care that their unpaid labour actually enriches a for-profit corporation -- could tell people "We're just like you!"


Click here if you cannot see the video.


No comment.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Microsoft is doing a promotion where you get paid $100 for every Windows Store (or Windows Phone) app you write, for the next couple of months. I don't have nearly as much resistance to the idea as I thought I would. In fact, I'm loving this 30-day app challenge I'm on, and seeing official blogs and developer resources by women. Is this what it's like outside the Free Software world, where more than like 1 percent of people are female-identified?

Anyway, I know a lot of people hate it but I also love Windows 8 so far. It's more elegant than anything else that we've worked with so far, including OS X. Plus, we can write Javascript apps for it, which is good since that's what we know. I don't like said apps being tied to the Windows Store as the only channel of distribution, but I'm almost cheering for Microsoft as the underdog here since there are a lot of reasons I dislike Apple and Google's corporate practices. And MS has come a long way since the antitrust trial.

Plus, being able to play my games inside an inoffensive (to my senses), aesthetically pleasing OS, with elegant developer tools and a significant Free Software component (Firefox) has been ... very nice.

Speaking of Firefox, they're giving out Firefox OS phones to people who say they'll write apps for them. I told Mozilla I basically wrote GNOME's Javascript docs, and want to write a Dreamwidth client. Here's hoping that I get accepted?

Also, issues

Content note for abuse, discussion of incest and rape, trans issues, and internalized transphobia. Please please please do not read this if you are trans and are struggling for self- or outside acceptance.

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

The Firefox web browser's code is open-source, but the Mozilla Foundation protects the Firefox name and trademark, especially from people using it to spread spyware.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

[personal profile] aliaspseudonym and I have been discussing my last post on Skype.

I think the original creator of a work should have their status protected via trademark, at the least. My ideal situation would be something like how Mozilla runs Firefox:

[11:23:12 PM] Jewelfox: There's a nonprofit foundation in charge of it, with a clear public benefit mission statement. A lot of the work is done by volunteers, who are co-ordinated by the foundation's representatives. The results of the work are shared with everyone via Free Software licenses. BUT the Firefox trademark is owned by Mozilla, in order to protect brand dilution.

[11:23:39 PM] Jewelfox: If you want to make a derivative, you have to call it like Iceweasel or something (yes this actually exists), as well as crediting Mozilla as per the MPL.

I feel fan creators should at least have their rights protected and codified, instead of having them be open to arbitrary attack. I also feel that if copyright's going to exist at all, it should last only 10 years at most.

There's an amazing comic I found years ago that explains a lot of the issues involved -- copyright, fair use, the Creative Commons, and the ways that "intellectual property" "owners" are claiming society's myths. It's called "Tales from the Public Domain: Bound By Law?"

I recommend it to anyone who wants to be informed about these issues.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Right now, Apple can censor your app for political reasons, and lock you out of iOS forever. Hasbro can shut down any My Little Pony fan, anytime that it wants, because you only have Fair Use rights if you can pay to defend them in court (and they won't let you make money from your own work regardless). Popping the case on your tablet voids your warranty, even if you do it to fix the dang thing, and switching your phone to work on a different carrier is now illegal.

The people who own these companies aren't democratically elected. They don't have to work. They don't even have to sign contracts and hire people to work for them. They can get laws written that make others work for them, like the massive army of bronies and pegasisters creating goodwill for the My Little Pony brand without pay. Or the app developers who are out of luck if they go through anyone but Apple, because for some reason Apple's "right" to decide what goes on your iPad is more important than anyone else's.

Apple can do whatever it wants with the App Store, and with the iPad you purchased. Hasbro owns every fan work that every MLP fan ever made, and everything they will make for another hundred years or so. And not even Lauren Faust, the creator of the new MLP series, could stop them from shutting down fanworks based on it like Fighting is Magic.

That's not how things ought to work.

Here's how things ought to work:

  1. The worker should own the means of production.

  2. The audience should own their response to artwork.

  3. Everyone should have the right to take apart things that they own.

Stuff like Apple and Hasbro are doing ought to be illegal. People should go to jail and pay fines for them. It doesn't matter if you think Apple or MLP fans have bad taste, or that "computer games" and "cartoons" are irrelevant. They're just examples of things that affect everyone, in this world that we have where we choose to allow a handful of people to own everything, even though they didn't work for it.

There are a few things that work the right way.

Creative Commons and Free Software licenses let creators throw fans a bone, and make them equal partners instead of "participants." A writer can now own the website that her words are published on, thanks to Dreamwidth and WordPress' Free Software code, while MediaGoblin does the same for artists, musicians, and video producers. And while you can't write an "iPad game" without going through Apple, even my PlayStation can access what Mozilla calls the Open Web.

Finally, the stuff you create -- that you put into websites -- does not have to go away if you leave or get banned. Some sites work like Dreamwidth, where you can "friend" people on other sites and they can subscribe and leave comments. And if something goes wrong, you or someone else can take the code and set up shop someplace else, the way Dreamwidth did for upset LiveJournal fans. Mozilla is even making an app marketplace that works this way.

I'm trying to find more things that work this way, and evaluate everything else in my life and decide whether or not it's worth it.

Edit: I do not endorse brony culture, and I feel that there are a lot of problematic things about it. (The name, for starters.) Free speech should not include hate speech, because it silences others. I chose the Fighting is Magic fangame to use as an example of fans being silenced because it's a) recent, b) egregious, and c) overriding the wishes of the actual creator of the work in question.

Edit 2: Some much-needed corrections and clarifications are here.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
My GNOME Outreach Program for Women internship is now over. My project was the JavaScript app developer documentation. When I started, it was woefully out-of-date and incomplete, and extremely poorly organized.

So how is it now?

Still really bad, in my opinion. Especially compared to Apple or Android's developer docs.

You can see, on the page I was working on, the beginnings of a curriculum. It tells you what you need to do to get started, and then starts to walk you through GNOME app development before giving you lots of code samples for specific widgets. But there are some experiments and approaches I took that I think were questionable, like the Switch widget example that covered AboutDialogs in more detail than Switches, or the starting lesson which jumps straight into Webkit.

When I started this project, I knew things had to be better but I didn't fully know how to get there. I used a lot of trial and error, writing code sample after code sample and refining my approach in each one. After attending the Open Help conference and sprint, I had a much clearer idea of where to go, and you can see the outline for my "App Guide" project on the live.gnome.org wiki.

I hope to complete the first draft of this guide in time for the next round of Outreach Program interns, and I hope to become a mentor for some of them. Whether they're working to improve developer docs, or writing their own GNOME apps.

Taryn's take on the Outreach Program

It was one of the best experiences of my life. It was confusing and frustrating at first, especially once I found out that GNOME app development wasn't as simple as I'd been led to believe by the existing tutorials. But I found my footing quickly, I think, even if that involved asking a ton of questions on IRC.

The parts that I'll always remember include all the technical triumphs, the encouragement from my mentor and the other interns and people involved in the program, and meeting up with people at Open Help. And in the #gnome-women IRC meeting where we gave feedback on the program, I said that one of the best things about it was how open-ended it was, because of how it let me understand the problem and approach it in my own way.

Since then, though, I realized another big thing about the program that helps make it successful:

Money

We've probably all seen the research on what motivates us, and how money is not a big part of it. But you know who's really motivated by money? People who don't have enough.

Women, disabled people, gender and sexual / romantic minorities, ethnic and cultural minorities ... all these groups are more likely to have a hard time making ends meet financially. And the opportunity cost for them to volunteer for Free Software is a lot greater than it is for a white, abled, male, non-queer hacker, who's being paid a decent salary and has health insurance.

Just as an example, the time I spent dealing with autistic shutdown and widespread intolerance, and trying to explain feminism 101 concepts to deter trolls from attacking me and others, are all things that most hackers don't have to deal with. They're practically a second job for many ... to say nothing of the women who are still expected to be the primary (or sole) caretakers for their children.

The Outreach Program's $5,000 payment is barely enough to maintain a minimal first-world standard of living over three months. But for me, it was more than enough. I was finally living my dreams, and being paid to work on what most excited me. And I could set aside other work that I didn't have the spoons (emotional energy) for, so that I could concentrate on this.

One of the reasons I'm going to continue working on GNOME is because I'm hoping to sell the App Developer's Guide as a Creative Commons-licensed book, and make some money from it. I'm hoping that once "GNOME OS" becomes more widespread, more people will want to learn to write apps for it, and that this guide will be there for them.

But another huge reason is because, once the problem of "how do I pay rent and buy food?" was taken care of for a few months, I saw how much I loved being a part of the GNOME community and helping with my part of it. So that stipend provided the activation energy for what will hopefully become a chain reaction, as I mentor other women who may go on to help others in turn.

I'm hoping to show them that they can be a part of GNOME too; that GNOME needs them, and that they can have fun contributing to GNOME. And while it may seem vulgar to talk about if you're explaining the program to people who don't need the money, as someone who's been there that stipend really helps sell the program to people who do.

Wrapping things up

Many thanks to the GNOME Foundation, Google, Mozilla, Collabora, the Free Software Foundation, and Red Hat for sponsoring my internship. I had a lot of fun with it, and I hope I made (or am) something that's worth it.

Many thanks to my mentor, Tiffany Antopolski, for answering so many weird questions and doing so much work to find out how to make the JavaScript code work right, especially for her version of the "Hello, GNOME" tutorial which hasn't gone live yet. Seriously, she went the extra kilometre, especially since mentors aren't paid.

Many thanks to her, Radina Matic, and Marta Maria Casetti, for being extremely supportive either on my journal or in person at Open Help. I needed a lot of encouragement and reassurance, and it was an amazing feeling to be validated and accepted there. If I'd known this would happen, I would've tried to raise money to go to GUADEC too somehow.

Many thanks to Shaun McCance for running the Open Help conference, and to him and Ryan Lortie for answering my questions there and helping me figure out what the App Guide should cover. Also just for being awesome. You guys rock.

Finally, many thanks to Marina Zhurakhinskaya and Karen Sandler for running the Outreach Program, and to Karen for helping make it possible as the GNOME Foundation's Executive Director. This may be the most welcoming Free Software community for women (including trans women) that I know of, right up there with Dreamwidth.

Here's hoping, and helping, that it just gets better from here.

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

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